Investing in Communities project supports Cycles4All

Date: 22 March 2021   Author: Energise Me

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on those living with disabilities. Many projects that support this community have struggled to keep going. Through our Investing in Communities project we were able to support Eastleigh Youth and Community Trust with a number of projects, one being Cycles4All.

Chantelle and her mum on a tandem bike at Cycles4All


About Cycles4All

Eastleigh Youth and Community Trust aims to provide inclusive educational, social, recreational and leisure time activities for children, young people, the residents of Eastleigh and the Trust’s immediate neighbourhood. Among many other projects, they run Cycles4All, an inclusive outdoor cycling programme for people of all ages and abilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic had such an impact on the Trust, and on the Eastleigh residents who use their services, that they were forced to look for additional funding to make sure Cycles4All remained accessible. Through our Investing in Communities project, we were able to help so that the project could continue to support families. We spoke to some of the families involved to find out what Cycles4All means to them.

Having access to a tandem bike through Cycles4All has been great. Ethan loves it! He’s got so much out of it.

Ethan’s Story

My son Ethan is 19. He was born at 23 weeks, very premature. Due to this, he has multiple disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, sight issues and he’s profoundly deaf. He’s also autistic. This means that a lot of activities are not accessible to him.

Ethan has done incredibly well, against all odds. He’s always been home educated, but we wanted to find something a bit more active he could do. That’s when we found Cycles4All. Ethan struggles to walk so cycling is the perfect activity as he’s sat down. He can’t have his own bike so we need a tandem bike to be able to get out and about. This way he only has to pedal as much or little as he wants. Tandem bikes are expensive and not practical to store at home.

Having access to a tandem bike through Cycles4All has been great. Ethan loves it! He’s got so much out of it, he just relaxes when we are out on the bike. It’s been a really nice experience for us to do together. We go out in all weathers and when it was nice in the summer we’d even stop and have a drink and stuff. It’s our time together, out in a different environment.

The experience has also benefitted me. As a carer, it can be hard to have time for me. I’m not the sort to go out for a run. I’ve definitely felt a change in my health. Cycling has benefitted my wellbeing too.


Chantelle on a trike at Cycles4All


Chantelle’s Story

Our adoptive daughter Chantelle is 17 and has a chromosome microdeletion. This means that she struggles with fine motor skills and coordination. Chantelle needs help with things like getting dressed, brushing her hair and she has just learnt to tie her own shoelaces.

Chantelle goes to Sparsholt College three days a week, which luckily means we can go to Cycles4All on her days off. We heard about the program a while ago at an open day for people with disabilities but at the time we didn’t take the offer up.

Chantelle didn’t know how to ride a bike before. We had tried to teach her, but she could only go a few yards. There is too much to think about at once for her. The parts of cycling that to us come naturally take a lot more work for her to do. So we looked up Cycles4All to see if it was still running and booked in a session.

It’s great! Chantelle can ride a bike without having to think about it too much. We go on the side by side tandem; that way if she needs to stop cycling she can, but she can also still enjoy the experience. It’s freeing for her.

Find out more about Investing in Communities and how it could help you to support others to be active over on our Investing in Communities page.

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